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21 Highlighters That Will Give Your Skin a Stunning Glow

Jul 16 2021 - 11:10am

For makeup-lovers, it can be a struggle to resist purchasing every sparkly new highlighter [1] that hits the market, especially when the best cream [2], powder, and liquid formulas all promise to make your cheekbones look lifted and give your skin a major glow [3].

Finding the perfect formula that gives your skin luminosity without looking powdery or emphasizing uneven texture can take a lot of trial and error, but luckily we've tried dozens of highlighters to determine which are truly the best. From gel-like liquid options that can be mixed with your base makeup products for an all-over radiance to silky powder formulas that melt into skin with a single swipe, there's something for every makeup style.

Choosing the right shade of highlighter is another factor to consider. There are hues ranging from light opals and pale pinks to deeper golden honey and iridescent blues, and we believe that no makeup collection is complete until it contains at least one of each. Once you apply these highlighters to the high points of your face [4] — like your cheekbones, eyebrow bones, nose, and Cupid's bow — you can keep the shimmer going by using many of them on your body, too.

From powder to cream and liquid varieties, check out the best highlighters of 2021 ahead.

About-Face Light Lock Stick

The About-Face Light Lock Stick [5] ($25) is a creamy, twist-up highlighter stick that glides onto skin and leaves behind a soft glow. It layers over makeup beautifully and won't cause your other base products to move around.

Saie Glowy Super Gel

The Saie Glowy Super Gel [6] ($25) is formulated with 75 percent water, giving it a super lightweight, liquid texture. It can be mixed with your foundation or moisturizer or layered on top of makeup.

Milk Makeup Flex Highlighter

For a silky pressed-powder highlighter, try the Milk Makeup Flex Highlighter [7] ($28). It's packed with pearlescent pigments to really make your skin glow.

Rare Beauty Positive Light Liquid Luminizer

The Rare Beauty Positive Light Liquid Luminizer [8] ($22) is an editor-favorite. The liquid consistency makes it easy to blend into skin for an all-over glow.

MAC Extra Dimension Skinfinish

The MAC Extra Dimension Skinfinish [9] ($36) is a creamy, liquid-powder formula that melts into skin and reflects light for a lit-from-within radiance. And this product can keep you glowing from day to night because it's made for up to 10 hours of wear.

Em Cosmetics Moonbeam Cushion Highlighter

The Em Cosmetics Moonbeam Cushion Highlighter [10] ($30) has a convenient cushion applicator that allows you to take your glow on the go. Use the included cushion or your fingers to blend the pigment into the high points of your face.

e.l.f. Cosmetics Baked Highlighter

This e.l.f. Cosmetics Baked Highlighter [11] ($4) is infused with vitamin E and hydrating jojoba, rosehip, sunflower, apricot, and grape oils to make your skin glow.

NYX Born to Glow! Liquid Illuminator

You'll be obsessed with the NYX Born to Glow! Liquid Illuminator [12] ($8), simply because it makes you glisten from head to toe. You can apply this creamy liquid highlighter down the center of your legs, on your collarbones, and even on your shoulders.

Physicians Formula Butter Highlighter

Dipping your finger into the bouncy consistency of the Physicians Formula Butter Highlighter [13] ($11) is oddly satisfying. The formula is easy to blend on your cheeks and has a soft-focus finish you'll be completely obsessed with. It gives the kind of result that will have everyone complimenting your radiant complexion.

Essence Pure Nude Highlighter

Not only does the gorgeous hue of the Essence Pure Nude Highlighter [14] ($5) give you a subtle and natural gleam on your skin, but for under $5, the quality is breathtaking.

ColourPop Super Shock Highlighter

The cream-powder texture of the ColourPop Super Shock Highlighter [15] ($8) is buildable, allowing you to achieve either a sheer glow or an otherworldly shine with a few extra coats. Each highlighter is buttery soft and leaves you looking lit from within.

Pixi by Petra Glow-y Powder Cream-y Gold

The Pixi by Petra Glow-y Powder Cream-y Gold [16] ($18) makes you look like a human disco ball (in the best way). While one swipe with your trusty fan brush will create a subtle sheen, you can layer it for an intense shimmer that's truly showstopping.

Wet n Wild Megaglow Highlighting Powder

Wet n Wild knows a thing or two about creating game-changing yet affordable makeup, and the Megaglow Highlighting Powder [17] ($5) is no different. The smooth powder blends seamlessly and is packed with saturated color.

Laura Mercier Face Illuminator

For a bold, shimmery highlight, try the Laura Mercier Face Illuminator [18] ($45), which might as well be a personal spotlight for your face.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder

The Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder [19] ($48) is meant to emulate candlelight, giving your skin a soft, subtle luminosity.

Laura Geller Beauty Baked Gelato Swirl Illuminator

The formula of the Laura Geller Beauty Baked Gelato Swirl Illuminator [20] ($26) blends in seamlessly with your skin, giving you a natural-looking highlight everyone will compliment.

Benefit Watt's Up! Champagne Cream-to-Powder Highlighter

An oldie but a goodie, the Benefit Watt's Up! Champagne Cream-to-Powder Highlighter [21] ($30) gives off a soft-focus glimmer that's easy to blend with the included sponge tip.

Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed Highlighter in Champagne Pop

The Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed Highlighter in Champagne Pop [22] ($38) is majorly popular because it flatters a wide range of skin tones with high-impact shimmer.

Nudestix Magnetic Nude Glimmer

For major metallic pigment, dot on the Nudestix Magnetic Nude Glimmer [23] ($28) and blend out with your fingers. Plus, it's waterproof so it won't budge all day.

The Balm Mary-Lou Manizer

The cult-favorite The Balm Mary-Lou Manizer [24] ($24) is ideal for anyone who is a fan of champagne shimmer. The subtle glow can be applied to your cheekbones or even your eyes to give off a dewy look.

Cover FX Custom Enhancer Drops

A little goes a long way with the Cover FX Custom Enhancer Drops [25] ($42). The tiniest amount of the liquid is enough to highlight every high point on your face. Simply blend out with a makeup sponge and get ready to gleam.


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